Medications these days are not only limited to traditional routes like taking a pill by mouth. A variety of new and improved dosage forms have been created with your best interests in mind.
If you have trouble remembering to take your medication, or for example, if you’re a diabetic who doesn’t like needles, one of the newer dosage forms just might be right for you!
What types of new dosage forms now exist?
- Iontophoretic transdermal systems
- Long-acting injections
- Inhaled medications
- Dissolvable tablets and films
Are there advantages to using these newer forms?
Yes—some of these new forms can help you resolve common issues like:
- Problems swallowing medication. Newer dissolvable tablets and films can help with swallowing problems. Some patients may have trouble swallowing larger tablets or capsules, and a dose that can be placed under the tongue or in the mouth to dissolve can be beneficial.
- Remembering to take your medication. New longer acting injections can help with medication recall. Once the injection is administered you may not need another dose of medication for 1 week to 6 months depending on the medication. Several long-acting injection options exist for indications such as birth control, mood stabilization, or osteoporosis.
- Fear of injecting your medication. New inhalational dosage forms can help with medication fear. An example of medication fear are those patients newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes that have a fear of needles and injecting themselves with insulin. Recently, the FDA approved Afrezza, an inhaled insulin which may help reduce some of the nervousness associated with using insulin for newly diagnosed diabetics.
- Faster symptom improvement. New iontophoretic transdermal medication systems can help suffering patients with pain control in situations where fast relief is desired. Pain can be a result of many things for example surgery or a migraine. Recently approved iontophoretic topical medication systems produce a mild electrical current in order to deliver the medication through the skin.
- Ease of use. “Set it and forget it!” a common catch phrase used for crock pot dinners can actually be applied to the use of medications as well. Most patients would probably prefer a medication that they don’t really have to think about such as a topical patch or monthly injection. These dosage forms allow a patient to receive proper treatment with the least amount of effort.
Which medications are available through an iontophoretic transdermal system?
The iontophoretic delivery system actually uses a mild electrical current to deliver a medication through the skin. These drugs will be available as transdermal patches that offer a set dose of medication. There aren’t any currently available at your pharmacy, but some examples of how the system is used include:
- Pain management. Ionsys was approved by the FDA for pain management on May 7, 2015, but it is for use in hospitalized adults only.
- Migraine relief. Zecuity was approved by the FDA in January 2013, and is coming soon for acute migraine relief.
What sort of medications are available as long-acting injections?
Rather than a taking a daily pill or injection, you may be able to receive a long-acting injection weekly, monthly, or even less often. The following are examples of some types of medications that have this form available:
- Birth Control (Depo-Provera, medroxyprogesterone)
- Mood stabilizing drugs (Abilify Maintena, Risperdal Consta, Invega Sustenna)
- Osteoporosis (Prolia)
Which medications can be inhaled?
While you may be familiar with inhalers for asthma or COPD, you may not be aware that an inhaled insulin (Afrezza) recently became available for diabetes patients.
What sort of medications are available as dissolvable tablets or films?
Alternative forms like orally disintegrating tablets and sublingual films can be especially helpful if you have a difficult time swallowing. Even better news here—many of these are also available as as cheaper generics. Some medications that can be dissolved in your mouth or under your tongue include treatments for: